It is a slow Saturday with virtually no financial, economic or any other news, so what better way to spend it than looking at the coolest non-finance related images of the past year. Without further ado, here they are, courtesy of Wired: the best scientific visualizations of 2013.
- From the guy who said the market is not overvalued: Q&A with Fed’s Williams on Upbeat 2014 Outlook and What Keeps Him up at Night (Hilsenrath)
- Obama Readies Revamp of NSA (WSJ)
- Indian envoy leaves U.S. in deal to calm diplomatic row (Reuters)
- China overtakes US as largest goods trader (FT)
- Wall Street Predicts $50 Billion Bill to Settle U.S. Mortgage Suits (NYT)
- Low-End Retailers Had a Rough Holiday: Family Dollar, Sears Struggle as Lower-Income Customers Remain Under Pressure (WSJ)
- ECB charts familiar course as Japan, US and UK begin to diverge (FT)
- Housing experts warn of hiccups as new U.S. mortgage rules go live (Reuters)
- It's a HFT eat HFT world: Infinium ex-employees sue over $4.1m loss (FT)
- Slowing China crude imports to challenge exporters (FT)
On a satellite interview from Pyongyang, North Korea, former NBA player Dennis Rodman 'lost it' this morning with the anchor from CNN's "New Day" show. Describing his (and his team's) visit to North Korea as a "great trip for the world," Rodman started to get frustrated when questioned about whether he will use the opportunity to speak about Kenneth Bae, an American citizen who has been held in North Korea. "Do you understand what he did?" Rodman exclaimed, "You tell me! You tell me! Why is he held captive?" Having described Kim Jong Un as a "friend for life," Rodman went on to tell the CNN anchor, "I don't give a rat's ass what you think." Ah, the new normal diplomacy. We wonder if Kim's uncle also described him as a 'friend for life.'? As WaPo reports, The White House is not happy.
Below is a recent correspondence from our friend Lars Schall, an independent financial journalist, and the German Central Bank, the Deutsche Bundesbank, regarding the exact whereabouts and specifications of Germany’s national gold reserve.
Without question, 2013 was a jam-packed year for national security, defense and foreign policy watchers in the Asia-Pacific. Don’t expect the Asia-Pacific to be any less fraught next year.
If political protests focused on the real culprits of economic instability within their countries, then they could be immensely successful in bringing about real change. However, as long as they focus on distractions and the players of the game rather than the real culprits, politicians will continue to sell all of us "hope" and "change we can believe in" and continue laughing behind our backs all the way to the bank.
While we joked on Monday this week with regard the Harvard evacuations, we were still a little shocked that, as the NY Post reports, a Harvard University student was due in court Wednesday after prosecutors said he made bomb threats to try to get out of a final exam. Eldo Kim, 20, acting alone, sent the bomb hoax messages to five or six Harvard email addresses he picked at random (via the Dark Web browser Tor), about half an hour before he was scheduled to take a final in Emerson Hall, one of the buildings threatened. The maximum penalties for a bomb hoax are five years in prison and a $250,000 fine - plenty of time to study there...
If yesterday's price action in the moments following (and preceding) the FOMC announcement was just a little suspicious, with a seemingly endless supply of VIX selling originating as if from nowhere (or perhaps the 9th floor of Liberty 33) the morning after has so far been a snoozer. Perhaps this is to be expected following the third biggest one-day surge in the stock market in the year (1st = Jan 2nd, 2nd = October 10th), or perhaps the market is finally focusing on Bernanke's tongue in cheek suggestion that the taper may be lowered by $10 billion per month (we disagree as described previously). Or perhaps the creep higher in 10 Year yields, at 2.915% at last check and just shy of the 3.00% psychological level, is finally being noticed. Or perhaps the fact that China, very surprisingly, is also tapering concurrently is finally being appreciated as is the fact that despite all talk of preparedness, developing economies were hardly left unscathed following yesterday's development. Whatever the reason, the euphoria this morning has "tapered."
"It is an elementary obligation of a human being to repay trust with sense of obligation and benevolence with loyalty. However, despicable human scum Jang, who was worse than a dog, perpetrated thrice-cursed acts of treachery in betrayal of such profound trust and warmest paternal love shown by the party and the leader for him. From long ago, Jang had a dirty political ambition. He dared not raise his head when Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il were alive. But, reading their faces, Jang had an axe to grind and involved himself in double-dealing. He began revealing his true colors, thinking that it was just the time for him to realize his wild ambition in the period of historic turn when the generation of the revolution was replaced."... Or, in brief, if you don't like your uncle, you can execute your uncle.
In 1997, the SE Asian Tigers all faced severe economic stresses, partially triggered by a primarily foreign capital-funded massive real estate bubble in Thailand. Today the EXACT same thing is happening as untempered foreign investment into Thailand’s real estate market has created not a “soaring” real estate market as economists always incorrectly explain them, but massive real estate market distortions better known as a bubble.
As DB notes, it appears that markets continue to steadily price in a greater probability of a December taper judging by the 2bp increase in 10yr UST yields, 1.2% drop in the gold price and an edging up in the USD crosses yesterday. Indeed, the Atlanta Fed’s Lockhart, who is considered a bellwether within the Fed, kept the possibility of a December tapering open in public comments yesterday. But his other comments were quite dovish, particularly when he said that he wants to see inflation accelerate toward 2% before reducing asset purchases to give him confidence that the US economy was not dealing with a “downside scenario”. Lockhart stressed that any decision by the Fed on QE would be data dependent - so his comments that the government shutdown will make coming data "less reliable" than might otherwise have been, until at least December, were also quite telling. The dovish sentiments were echoed by Kocherlakota, a FOMC voter next year. In other words, an Oscar-worthy good-cop/bad-cop performance by the Fed's henchmen, confusing algotrons for the second day in a row.
A report by Bruce Bennett and the RAND Corporation has brought attention to one of the most important issues for international politics. Ironically, despite being a region of vital interest within American foreign policy, there has been very little public discussion of what to do in the event of government collapse in North Korea. Bennett’s timely report provides a series of vital contributions to the discussion and further outlines the lack of preparation in political, social, economic and military terms. Yet beyond the critical end game for the Korean peninsula are deeper questions concerning how any international force might respond. Specifically, how can the U.S. and Republic of Korea effectively mobilize regional powers with their differing security and development goals? Preparing for the unthinkable is not a simple moral imperative, but responsible leadership in the twenty-first century.
After seven months of investigating Goldman Sachs' legal and compliance divisions, former NYFed examiner Carmen Segarra found numerous conflicts of interest and breach of client ethics (specifically related to three transactions - Solyndra, Capmark, and the El Paso / Kinder Morgan deal) that she believed warranted a downgrade of Goldman's regulatory rating. Her bosses were not happy, concerned that this action would hurt Goldman's ability to do business, and, she alleges, they urged her to change her position. She refused, and as Reuters reports, she was fired and escorted from the building. “I was just documenting what Goldman was doing,” she said. “If I was not able to push through something that obvious, the [NY Fed] certainly won’t be capable of supervising banks when even more serious issues arise.”
Breaking Bad With Big Bank CEOs: How Bad Bank CEOs Use the Bystander Effect to Dupe Good People Into Working For ThemSubmitted by smartknowledgeu on 09/30/2013 06:09 -0400
This may become the most important article I’ve ever written. But whether it becomes that article or dwells in anonymity is up to you, the reader.
Here is Part Two of our exclusive interview with World Bank Whistleblower Karen Hudes in which I discuss with Ms. Hudes the need to end an immoral fractional reserve banking system that continually drains the wealth of citizens without their consent and without their knowledge.